She set the cloth bag down and carefully pulled out a variety of materials. It had taken her the better part of the trial to carefully make her way from shop to shop, switching her disguise regularly. Anyone who was trying to follow her would have a hard time doing so, should any find something suspicious to begin with.
Most shops didn’t have what she was looking for, but after much trial and error, she had realized that doctors shops, medicine dispensaries and odd looking shops in alleys were her best bet. She had been scalped, and she knew that much. There was no way what she had just bought was worth what she was charged, but she needed the materials.
A thump against the floor directly under her startled her from her thoughts, and she set about getting ready. Her father and her had set about preparing the testing equipment carefully; neither of them was particularly skilled at carpentry or construction, so they filled any flaw left by inexperience with more and more wood. Fridgar had helped a little, though he didn't appear to know much more than them. The result was a reinforced chair so solid Alex couldn’t lift it alone, a table bolted to the floor, and half a dozen leather restraints nailed crudely into the wood.
Warren appeared from the hole and nodded his greetings to her. “You get what you needed?” He asked.
Alex didn’t speak, merely gesturing to the full bag on the table. Together, the two of them moved the chair over to the table, right by the fire. Warren disappeared to get more firewood as Alex began preparing the first poison.
Today they would be testing various poisons. They would each be given a specific poison and monitored, then the antidote. Provided none of them died or had horrible side effects, Alex would then be able to test again the following day.
Her father had procured, from Aelig knew where, a mostly full and very well used Chemists kit and over a dozen needles. Everything she needed should be there, though she was sure she’d realize part way through that something was missing.
She pulled out a large bag of Mokou Beans, throwing several into the mortar and began to work. Her thoughts drifted, momentarily, to the morality of what she was doing, but she dismissed the thoughts easily. These women should have been better protected.
They brought this on themselves. The law is useless, and they took themselves outside of the government's protection when they broke the law. Something I can’t forget if I’m to finish this job, Alex thought.
A break passed as Alex ground, her father joining her partway through and taking over.
After several of the beans were completely crushed down to the finest powder, Alex carefully measured out a teaspoon into a dozen tiny cheesecloth bags, which were placed into small beakers.
From within the depths of the sack, Alex pulled out a clear bottle of Vodka. It was the strongest stuff she had found in Andaris, but it wasn’t good enough yet. Alex half filled the large Alembic chamber. She carefully attached it to the smaller, collection chamber, and set it down carefully. The height had to be adjusted, but soon the alcohol was bubbling away merrily, though Alex had to be careful with the heat. If it became too hot, the water would begin to boil and dilute the pure alcohol.
Alex had turned around for a moment when she heard a loud pop. A stab of pain in her neck made her cry out, and her hand flew back as she spun.
What the hell had happened?
Meeting her eyes was a ruined chamber, shattered under the heat. Glass pieces were everywhere, and the remaining vodka was dripping onto the floor.
Glad that she never took off her shoes, Alex was cautious as she made her way back. She turned off the burner and carefully looking over the ruined apparatus. It appeared there had been a crack in the body of the alembic, and the heating had somehow caused part of it to swell. Shoddy work, Alex thought with a grimace. She wiped the surface of the catchment bin clean, and her face contorted again.
There wasn’t enough to make all the doses she needed, meaning she’d need to go out and get more, or else she’d need to kill off some of her prisoners in the next few trials.
She debated the options as she waited for the alcohol to cool, and carefully poured it into the vials. She stoppered them and set them off to the side. The mokou beans would make the women drowsy enough to be easily manhandled, though she doubted the giant of a man would need the help.
Suddenly realizing that she hadn’t noticed him, Alex looked up, calling out for him at the same time. “Fridgar? It’s time, and I need you to grab one of the subjects.”